Inviting temperatures and refreshing breezes have you flinging open windows and readying your tool belt? Then it’s time to create a plan and start tackling that honey-do list. Just make sure you get the job done right. Keep these categories in mind as you ready your home for spring, from the ground up.
It’s “ground up” for a reason. All other maintenance, repairs and improvements become moot if your foundation is a mess. That’s why it’s crucial to check your foundation for structural repairs before moving on to other tasks.
Pick a warm, dry day to get down to business. Head down to the basement or shimmy into a crawlspace to check for water damage, cracks and pests. If your home has had drainage problems before, it can also be a good idea to check during or immediately after a rainfall, to see when or how water is getting in.
Some drainage issues can have a simple fix. For instance, make sure soil hasn’t eroded away from the foundation. If it has, pile it up until it covers that crucial divide, and make sure to slope it away from the house so water runoff is directed away from the foundation.
Home safety is always a concern, but it can be hard to remember all those little checks, changes and cleanings. That’s why “spring cleaning” is a great way to corral all those once- or twice-a-year tasks into one action-packed weekend. In addition to washing those pillows and flipping your mattresses, here are a few safety tasks to tack on:
- Check for proper wattage: A house fire can result if a bulb’s wattage is too high for the fixture. Do a household sweep for dead or dangerous bulbs. Replace as needed.
- Replace your fire extinguisher. Don’t have one? Now’s a good time to buy one. Keep it where you’ll need it, like near a kitchen or grill.
- Replace the batteries in your smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors, then test them. Spring is also a good reminder to evaluate your needs. Are there alarms on each floor? Near each sleeping area?
Energy & Efficiency
It’s amazing how something as small as dust can drastically reduce your energy efficiency. Each spring, take the time to change all your HVAC and air purifying filters. After that, drag all your major appliances out so you can get to the dust and grime that can coat and clog their coils and filters.
Winter’s chill may be your best indicator of air leaks and other efficiency issues, but it’s not always the best time to fix them. Pick a mild day to crawl around blowing extra insulation into your walls. Once temperatures are firmly and finally above freezing, go room to room caulking around windows, doors and trim.
Wrap Up Winter
Take the time to clean and store your winter weather essentials. Pack up space heaters, humidifiers, snow blowers, shovels and other bulky gear. Taking the time to care for these items ensures they’re in great working condition for next winter, while packing them away gives you more space to work on warm-weather projects.
Look to Your Lawn
Lawn care can be as much about safety as it is about function and aesthetic. That’s why trimming back problem areas is a good place to start.
Check for branches that are too close to power lines, but find out if it’s your responsibility or your township’s before you head in with a chainsaw or branch cutter. While you’re at it, look for limbs and shrubs that are brushing your roof or siding. Not only could they damage key parts of your home’s structure, they also serve as a highway for pests like termites or carpenter ants.
Trim problem plants to prevent structural damage. Remove dead and damaged plants and limbs. Rake away the last of the dead leaves.
Once you’ve created a safe and clean lawn you can finally move on to the fun part: Adding beautiful new life to your landscape.
Close With Cleaning
No sense in tracking bark leaves, grease and grime through a thoroughly cleaned house. Wait until you’ve wrapped up your big first-of-spring maintenance projects like the ones listed above before you start dusting your ceiling fans, vacuuming under furniture, and mopping floors.
Many cleaning tasks only need done once or twice a year. Keep a checklist handy so you remember them come spring.
Once you’re done, curl up in a lawn chair and enjoy a refreshing drink as you survey your spruced-up, refreshed home.